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Saint Leo Community Memory Oral History Collection & Archive: 1976 ERA Open Forum Proceedings

This guide contains a collection of oral histories and archival materials related to the history of Saint Leo University and its surrounding communities since its inception in the late 19th century.

1979-1980, Saint Leo College, "An Open Forum on the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment" featuring Ms. Betty Friedan and Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly

This forum was a momentous occasion for Saint Leo College as it featured Betty Friedan, the world famous feminist author of the provocative best-selling book called The Feminine Mystique. In this book, she argued that many women were unable to find fulfillment in the domestic sphere and should not be prohibited from entering the workplace and pursuing interests outside of the realm of domesticity. This forum was convened to allow the Saint Leo College Community to hear her arguments for the controversial Equal Rights Amendment as well as arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment as presented by noted and outspoken ERA opponent, Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly. The reason why Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly's visit to Saint Leo occurred months after Betty Friedan's visit is because some members of the Saint Leo community were upset that only Betty Friedan's liberal view was represented and lobbied to invite Phyllis Schlafly to represent a more conservative viewpoint. The heated debate that followed this forum is indicative of the wide divide between factions within the Saint Leo community during this time period.

Equal Rights Amendment Forum featuring Betty Friedan, Saint Leo College